Benjamin Davies

See other motorhome reviews written by Benjamin Davies

Get the expert verdict on the CI Mizar Elite in the Practical Motorhome review

Design

This low-profile motorhome comes in at under 7.5m in length and, from its colour-matched front bumper to its stylish rear panel (complete with bracketwork should you want to carry a bike rack) it really is quite a looker.

All exterior walls have a GRP finish as opposed to the more usual aluminium. As for details, it always surprises me that motorhomes such as this do not provide corner steadies – nor even offer them as an option. To my mind, 2.5m of rear overhang might merit steadies.

There is also no retractable step because the caravan door is set extra low, so there is a 
far more practical instep set here instead. The door itself has twin locking points, an opening slit window with blind and flyscreen, a waste bin and a map pocket.

The waste water outlet is centrally located underneath the ’van, although the handle is not easily accessible so you will have to straddle any dump points when you empty the tank.

There is no spare wheel because all Mizars come with Fiat’s Fix-and-Go puncture repair kit, instead.

On the road

In standard trim, the Elite is built on the 3500kg Fiat Ducato chassis. It has a 460kg payload and comes with the 130bhp Fiat MultiJet engine.

If you aim for fuel economy in the lower- to mid-20s you are unlikely to be disappointed. Consider anything around the 30mpg mark as testament to a light right foot.

After getting behind the wheel we cannot see too many people feeling the need to upgrade to the 160bhp MultiJet engine, unless they want to include Fiat’s new Comfortmatic gearbox and are prepared to pay the extra £2850 to get it.

Standard equipment in the cab is comprehensive: passenger airbags, cruise control, press-studded lined curtains and insulation screens. Ci also allows the customer to specify their choice of stereo through the supplying dealer.

Lounging & dining

Once you are settled in on site it is an absolute doddle to swivel both of the cab seats to create a cosy lounge area for up to four people. The large dining table does dominate 
the lounge area somewhat, but it can be adjusted. The large corner cut-off means that it 
can be swivelled to allow easy access from the cab to other areas of the living quarters.

A more immediate criticism concerns the poor quality of the carpet sections in the lounge, kitchen and bedroom 
– especially so, considering that the overlay for the cab floor is made from a far superior material.

Although the lounge is definitely compact, the light brown upholstery, an abundance of windows, and 
a large Heki roof light, all help to increase the sense of space when living in the Elite.

One criticism we had was 
of the three-inch step down from the lounge to the kitchen because it caught us out on every occasion.

Kitchen

If the lounge is ‘compact’, then the kitchen is tiny. On the 
plus side, the Elite’s kitchen has a full-size UK-style Spinflo four-ring hob and oven, with an extractor fan unit above.

However, the awkward positioning of the sink tap would, we are certain, start 
to grate if we were to spend an extended period of time cooking in this kitchen.
The positioning of the cutlery drawer is also somewhat ill-conceived: although it is generously sized, locating it in the large cupboard above the fridge/freezer will make it difficult for many people to reach.

There is a limited amount 
of worksurface area in this kitchen and storage space is compromised by the positioning of the gas locker. There are only two usable lockers in this area: two above the cooker, plus that big cupboard above the freezer, opposite. The small corner shelves behind the sink do help, though, and they can be fixed in a variety of places to suit the owner’s needs.

Sleeping

The compromise on dimensions in the lounge and kitchen are explained by the size of the bedroom: it’s an absolute belter, all centred around that supremely comfortable island bed.

What’s so good about an island bed? Well, if you have ever had to clamber over your partner to visit the toilet in the middle of the night you will appreciate the benefits. Or, maybe you appreciate the feeling of spaciousness afforded by a bed that is not squashed up against a wall. The island bed in the Elite measures 1.9 x 1.37m and there is sufficient space to walk around both sides of it.

Storage space in the bedroom is plentiful, with 
his ’n’ hers wardrobes which incorporate clever, inset shelving and bedside tabletops. Overhead lockers connect both wardrobes and there is additional shelving around the side windows, which benefit from cassette blinds/flyscreens and curtains.

The level of lighting in the bedroom area is impressive and includes reading lamps on adjustable stalks. There’s also a mini-Heki roof light in here to allow plenty of natural light 
to flood the room. The heater control switch is handily located at the side of the bed, which makes it easy to turn off the heating last thing at night, or first thing in the morning, before facing the cold.

We were surprised that the designers did not make something of the back wall: with the adjustable bed head flat, it gives the impression of a blank canvas. Would a padded headboard have restricted movement of the bed-head?

Surprisingly, there are no mains power sockets in the bedroom, despite there being plenty (four) elsewhere in the vehicle – it means that you have no chance of watching television in bed at night. This is a most unfortunate oversight.

The entire bedroom area can be closed off from the rest of the motorhome to create a separate room. This offers 
a couple the benefit of some privacy when a guest is staying in the lounge area 
on the made-up bed, which 
even Ci describes as best for ‘occasional’ use. It would also be fine for children to use on short trips away.

Washroom

The separate toilet room and shower cubicle arrangement 
is clever: the (nearside) shower room is semi-lined, with a curtain to go across the door. The mini seat-cum-foot rest is a great idea for when you are showering.

On the negative side, an additional hook or two would not have gone amiss. Also, there’s only a small plug hole in the shower tray, and the positioning of the blown-air outlet, at almost ceiling height, is rather curious. Across the way, the toilet room has a proper towel rail, plenty of locker storage space and a washbasin which not only looks stylish, it is also deep enough to fill up for 
a ‘proper’ wash.

Storage

Lift up the island bed’s metal frame, with the help of its gas struts, and you will find a veritable cavern in which to store lots of gear – usefully, it is a sectioned space. Elsewhere, there is drawer access at the foot of the bed.

Exterior access to the underbed storage area is available from either side of the vehicle, so there should 
be no problem taking the barbecue, outdoor chairs and tables on tour with you.

The fresh-water tank is in the lounge seat base and while the insulative properties of this position may be useful for winter touring, it steals valuable storage space from the lounge. The open shelving over the cab should prove useful, though.

Practical touches include the easy-to-reach fuse box, directly behind the driver’s seat, and the equally accessible water pump tucked into its own little locker in the lounge.

Technical specs

Sleeps3
Travel seats3
MTPLM3500kg
Payload460kg
Length7.33m24′1″
Width2.31m7′7″
Height2.9m9′6″
Waste water105L
External Options
GRP sidewalls
Kitchen Equipment
4-burner gas hob, Oven, Extractor fan
Washroom
Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Gas Blown air heater

Verdict

With around 1000 different models of new motorhome available to us here in the UK, credit goes to Ci for coming up with something different.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Brilliant bedroom; cleverly designed washroom; good to drive

Cons

  • Poor storage space and worksurface area in the kitchen; the made-up bed in the lounge
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